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India lose opening encounter against Chinese Taipei

Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu’s gallant fight ended in agony as India made a dismal start to their Sudirman Cup campaign, going down to the formidable Chinese Taipei in the opening round here on Sunday.

There was, however, no lack of fight from the Indian players as Tanisha Crasto and K Sai Prateek started on a positive note in the mixed doubles contest but they ran out of steam in the end, losing 21-18 24-26 6-21 to world no. 30 Yang Po-Hsuan and Hu Ling Fang.

World Number 9 HS Prannoy then couldn’t find his ‘A’ game, going down 19-21 15-21 to world no. 5 Chou Tien Chen as India lagged 0-2 after the first two matches.

Sindhu was then handed the responsibility to bring India back into the tie but it was always going to be a tough task with her nemesis and former world no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying standing across the net.

The 27-year-old from Hyderabad, who hasn’t been in the best of form lately, produced a gritty performance after the opening game reversal but couldn’t go the distance with Tai Tzu managing a 21-14 18-21 21-17 win in an hour and four minutes.

It allowed Chinese Taipei take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match tie.

The last time Sindhu had beaten Tai Tzu was on way to her world championships title in 2019. Overall, it was her 18th loss to the Taipei player.

Sindhu, whose best result this season so far has been a final appearance at the Spain Masters, however, looked far more polished in her overall game as she displayed great fight back in the second and third game after losing the first.

While Tai Tzu looked by far the better player in the opening game, Sindhu managed to step up the pace in the second to take the match to the decider.

In the third game, the duo moved neck and neck till 6-6. Tai Tzu then eked out a 9-6 lead but Sindhu continued to look for angles to trouble the Taipei wizard.

A forehand angled drive brought Sindhu back on even par at 10-10 before her opponent went into the break with a one-point lead.

After resumption, Sindhu was up 14-12 but she sprayed to the net twice to make it 15-14 in Tai Tzu’s favour. Another shot going long and Tai Tzu moved to 17-14 with a deceptive shot.

The touch artist played a few of her sensational shots before a down the line smash gave her five match points. Sindhu saved two before Tai Tzu unleashed a quick return off the Indian’s serve to take the match.

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